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answered, “I see a roll flying; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth ten cubits." Then said he unto me,
Behold the curse recorded which
$ 7 (c. v. 5–11.) THE VISION OF THE WOMAN IN THE BUSHEL. Then the angel who talked with me went forth, and said unto me, “ Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth.” And I said, “What is it ?" And he said, “ This is a bushel that goeth forth.” He said, moreover, “This is their iniquity in all the land.” And, lo, a weight of lead was lifted up, and a woman sat in the bushel. And he said,
And he said, “This is wickedness." And he cast her into the bushel, and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth of it. Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, lo, there came out two women, and the wind filled their wings, for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the bushel between the earth and the heavens. Then said I to the angel that talked with me, " Whither are they carrying the bushel ?" And he said unto me, “To build it a house in the land of Shinar; and there it shall be established, and set upon its base."
§ 8 (c. vi. 1—8.) THE VISION OF THE FOUR CHARIOTS. And again I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. To the first chariot were red horses, and to the second chariot black horses, and to the third chariot white horses, and to the fourth chariot gray horses; and the horses were strong. Then I answered and said to the angel that talked with me,“ What are these, my lord ?" And the angel answered and said to me, “ These are the four winds of heaven, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. The black horses which are therein go forth into the North country, and the white go forth after them, and the gray go forth toward the South country. And when the strong ones (i.e. the red) went forth they desired
to go to and fro throughout the earth.” And he said, “Get you hence, walk to and fro throughout the earth.”. So, they walked to and fro throughout the earth. Then cried he unto me, and spake to me, saying, “Behold, those that go toward the North country quiet my spirit in the North country.”
§ 9 (c. VI. 9-15.) THE VISION OR SYMBOL OF THE CROWNS. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, “Take from the captives, from Cheldai (Chelem), from Tobiah, and from Jedaiah, going on that day into the house of Josiah (Chen) the son of Zephaniah, whither they are come from Babylon, take silver and gold and make crowns, and place them on the head of Joshua, the son of Josedech, the High-Priest, and speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts,
Behold the man whom I have named The Branch!
H. C. L.
NOT NOW, BUT AFTERWARDS.
THERE is a very touching incident in John's account of the last hours of our Divine Redeemer's converse with His disciples, which is not often considered. He had girded Himself with a towel and washed their feet. They had eaten together with a feeling new and strange, but inexpressibly tender, the paschal supper in the upper room. The traitor had gone forth to complete arrangements for the deed of infamy with which his hateful memory is associated. And then, while yet they sat at table, the Lord made known his speedy departure from the world
- His separation from those He loved. “Little children, yet a little while am I with you. Ye shall seek me, and as I said unto the Jews, whither I go ye cannot come, so now I say to you." This was heard in amazement. For a moment they were struck dumb, not understanding the full import of what had been said. Before they had recovered themselves, the Lord began His last charge, urging them, when He was no longer with them, to love one another. But Peter, quick, impulsive, abrupt, speedily recovered himself, and interrupting the Master-anxious to know what was really intended-put the question, “ Lord, whither goest thou ?" The answer, as usual, was pointed at the disciple, rather than explanatory of his words : “ Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.” Divinely apprehending the meaning of the Lord's reply-not wishful to be separated from him, even for a season, Beter replied, “ Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake !” When the Lord, looking him full in the face, with mingled sadness and affection, said, “Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake ? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, until thou hast denied me thrice.”
The central thought, and, perhaps, the most important, is contained in the declaration, “Thou canst not now, but thou shalt afterwards ;” such as it was with the rejoinder, “Why not now? I am ready! The human estimate of attainment and capacity is here brought into opposition and contrast with that which is divine. As based upon these diverse estimates how different is the human plan and order of life from that divinely ordained. How men chafe under divine restraints, and resent divine delays! But God's all-wise ordination, in the course of time, approves itself to the human understanding; the overestimate of power is sometimes sadly and painfully corrected; and then it is seen that He has done all things well, and that His “Not now, but afterwards,” is full of wisdom-full of love.
This reference of the Lord was, of course, to Peter's death. Christ was even now treading the via dolorosa—the way to the Cross. He was within a few steps of Calvary. His rejection and mockery, the cruel scourging, the crown of thorns, His agony and bloody sweat, and cross and passion, were all before Him, and He knew from what He had come to this hour. And knowing this, and knowing too how much fortitude-how much resolve and determination-how much subjection of the human will to the divine-how much self-crucifixion-the death he was to accomplish needed; and knowing, too, the weakness and imperfection of the impulsive disciple, he said, “ Thou canst not follow me now, but thou shalt after
wards.” Peter was to die a death of violence—was to suffer with the Lord in the flesh—was to be nailed to the crosswas to drink, even to the very dregs, the cup filled with the bitterness of death. But not yet. He was not ready. He was not equal to such a strain upon his faith and patience. As yet he had not sufficiently learned obedience and submission by the things which he had suffered. As yet he had not lost his self-will in loving subjection to the will of the Father in heaven. And so said the Lord, revealing spiritual weakness and imperfection of which His disciple was not conscious, “ Thou canst not follow me now.” Not until Peter was “old” was he to glorify God in the martyr's testimony and defiance of the power of the evil world. Gradually, through the divine discipline, he was to be prepared for the appointed end; and then, but not before, he was to follow the Master to prison and to death.
There is a Divine order of human life. There is a Divinelyordained discipline and development of human power and capability. There is a Divine adaptation of the internal ability to the external opportunity in ordained trial. The back is fitted to the burden it has to bear. Immaturity of thought and experience, lack of mental and moral culture, bluntness of spiritual perception, the want of refinement of affection, are positive disqualifications for many kinds of spiritual endeavour; and while they remain, success is impossible! To the disciples, impotent in presence of a demon, the Lord said, “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” The possession of large spiritual power, the personal conquest of the flesh, the earnest cultivation of a devout dependence upon God, were essential to such triumphs over the evil one and his kingdom. Influence of the highest kind over other men, power to move them in right directions, power to bless them, is essentially bound up with this personal cultivation, which must, in ordinary cases, be spread over many years.
It is the Divine condition of human progress. Yout” is the time for the indulgence of high hopes and noble aspirations; but it is not the time for their realization. Great and lasting works are not accomplished in haste, or with powers raw, crude, untutored, and undisciplined.
The gourd which grew in a night perished in a night. Divine works, both within and without, need many seasons for their perfecting. Hence, the Christ Himself, at twelve years of age about His Father's business, not afraid or ashamed even then to enter into vital questions between the law and the Gospel,--and, withal, strangely moved by burning, self-consuming anxiety to be the Saviour of the world, was held back from His work of teaching and sacrifice until He was thirty years of age. And once and
again, even during His public ministry, we find Him restrained and hindered from the full manifestation of His power by the Divine necessity which ruled His life ; and He said, explaining His inaction and delay, “Mine hour is not yet come.” Even in His case, as our elder Brother, there was a necessary waiting for the full development of power, and the coming of appointed times and ordained opportunities; and even He Himself was made subject to the law which He imposed upon His ardent and impetuous disciple—“Not now, but afterwards.” The cross was but the end and climax of a series of sufferings, each of which prepared Him for its endurance. No one link in all that chain of self-denial and sacrifice could have been spared ; for it was necessary that the Captain of salvation should be made perfect through suffering. And so it must be in the case of all regenerated souls. No great works can be achieved without long, spiritual preparation for them. The eradication of evil habits; the curbing of appetites which have been, perchance, long without restraint; the guidance of natural affections; the right ordering of natural tendencies; the discipline and perfecting of natural endowments; the harmonizing of the human will with the will of God; even these spiritual conditions of perfect work are not changes wrought in us in a moment, cannot be accomplished in a single act of volition; but involve long years of ceaseless striving, and are not attainable without many a bitter failure and disappointment, many a sad and grievous fall. In purpose and desire Peter was even now, as he said he was, ready to go with Jesus to prison and to death but in real power to go through such trials he was as a little child. Nay, he was spiritually so powerless that the challenge of a servant maid overcame him at once, and he denied in a moment all knowledge of the Lord whom he loved. Spiritual usefulness and spiritual triumphs need the preparation of a long-continued divine discipline and training. The man who, forgetful of this, boasts that he is about to carry all before him, and to conquer himself and the world without a protracted struggle ; who, in vaunted self-sufficiency, thinks to win the laurel and to obtain the crown of life at once,-has many a bitter hour of disappointment before him, in which he will be taught, by actual failure and defeat, as he lies moaning in the dust, the lesson which the Saviour taught his heedless friend“ Thou canst not follow me now."
Hence, there is a wisdom and mercy in the ordination of life's special trials which we nearly always come, in time, to recognize and feel grateful for. Most earnest Christians who have arrived at mature age and have gone through many times of disappointment and sadness, know the feeling of thankfulness with which